How aware are you of your mind?
I have been listening to a lot of different podcasts lately and I’ve heard a lot about Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully preset, aware of what we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. (mindful.org)
I immediately made a connection to Conscience Living-
Conscience-having the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives. (dictionary.com)
Listening to your inner sense can help you be fully present of what you are doing. I feel that taking the time to notice what you are doing and know what is going on all around helps me to feel lighter and appreciate it all. For example: How much does your mind wander? I know there are times when I am driving and I am so caught up in my thoughts about the day ahead of me, or what happened throughout the day that I don’t even know how I got to my destination. Did I stop at that stop sign? Were there any red lights? Hopefully, I obeyed all the laws, but it is a scary feeling to know I was so in my head, I was not aware of what was going on around me. My mind was totally running on autopilot. “When we are mindful we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind and increase our attention to other’s well-being.” (mindful.org).
So what can we do to be more mindful? I’m so glad you asked. In another blog post of mine, “Take Care of You,” I mentioned some things that I like to do on my own time. It turns out some of these are great for focusing on being mindful.
Meditation is an excellent place to start. Find some time in your day to practice meditating. If you only have five minutes, use that time. It does not have to be a long drawn out thing, although it can be if you have the time. Sometimes it is hard to focus or quiet the brain for more than five minutes. So start off in small increments and train your brain to go longer. Begin with some breathing exercises to quiet your mind. You can do this while sitting, standing, or even walking, just make sure you keep your eyes open. I like to count to help me focus. I count my breaths so I only focus on that. Sometimes I even say, “One-in (while breathing in) one out (while breathing out.) Then continue breathing. If I can make it to 10 without my mind thinking about what I’m making for dinner, I feel accomplished, if I don’t I simply start over. Then I start to focus on how my body is feeling. I listen to the sounds I hear around me. I really try to tune in to anything my inner thoughts are trying to say. If I get distracted then I begin again. Do not get discouraged if your mind keeps wandering. These things take time. The more you do it, the better focused you will become.
Another way to practice mindfulness is mindful observation. This helps you to become more aware of the environment around you. I like to focus on one object that is near me, like a flower or a butterfly. I focus on it for a couple of minutes observing what I see. I think about what the weather around me feels like. If I am inside I think about how I am feeling in that moment. I pay close attention to all the details. I quiet my mind by just thinking about this object. It is a very peaceful experience.
Mindful listening is one I know I need to work on. There are many times my husband will have a conversation with me and I will zero in on one part and fixate on that, and miss everything else he is telling me. I need to quiet my mind, hear him out and just listen. I need to be in the moment and focus on that. Mindful listening is when we focus our attention on a person who is talking to us. If you are having a meaningful conversation with someone, put your phone away. We are so distracted by every little thing that lights up on our phones. If we take the time to really listen and appreciate what someone is saying, it helps you to have a healthier relationship. You can also practice this with music. While listening to any song focus on the sounds of the music, the different instruments, the beats. Then focus on the lyrics. What is the artist trying to say to you? Try not to get distracted by what this feeling the song reminds you of. If you are outside, listen to the noises of nature. I love listening to birds singing, the sound of the wind in the trees, or the noise some insects make (from afar.)
There are some other mindful practices that you can do, but I think this is a good start for now. Let me know which ones you like best, or other ones you might practice. Whatever the method is, make sure you are trying your best to quiet your thoughts, be in the moment, and be aware of what you are feeling, seeing, or hearing.
Awaken Your Inner Self
Check out this book for learning how to meditate.
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